This year was probably the best year of being a wedding photographer so far - and really I am surprised to be saying that. When I started out the year, I was so discouraged. I was proud of my work, but the truth was that I wasn't booking anything. At some point, I accepted that I was going to shoot the lowest number of weddings this year that I had since probably my second year of business. That was a hard blow. It seemed like no matter what I did, I could not book up this year. I mean, I even hosted my own bridal show and went on the radio and TV. I tried everything.
It wasn't until May that I had an understanding of why when Gabe and I decided to pursue building our own house. The hours and hours that I spent pouring over blueprints and parts numbers and prices and estimates and financial info fell exactly in the gap between weddings, and it was like a light bulb went off. All I could do was laugh and thank God for doing exactly what I didn't want him to do - for my own good.
Near the end of the summer, it was clear that I had reached my limit, and I really had an emotional breakdown in the fall. For the first time, I was having panic attacks before weddings that caused migraines and basically put me in a place where I had to decide to take care of myself. If you have followed me for long, you know that I am extremely open about my struggles with anxiety and depression. It is 100% apart of me, and while I don't like it, I accept it and include it in my life and how I choose to go about life and work. That means that this fall, I had to let myself fall behind while I adjusted to a new medication that was life changing. I went from drowning and crying every day and truly living a nonfunctional life to experiencing joy and productivity again. Let me tell you, it is so important to take time to make sure YOU are okay and YOU are taken care of. I am finally feeling like myself again, and I am almost completely caught up. I cannot thank all of my wonderful brides and grooms enough for their patience with me during this time. It has truly been a roller coaster of a year, and I am not even sure how I survived, but here I am.
And guess what? Even though this year had the fewest weddings in a long time for me, I somehow made substantially more in sales than I did last year. Seriously only God. I am completely blown away going through my financials.
You may have noticed that there haven't been many updates recently on the home build/camper living front. That is because we chose to postpone until the spring. We took our house off the market and chose to spend the holidays actually enjoying life and not trudging through showings. The day we made that decision, I bawled my eyes out. I am not sure if I have ever felt so defeated. All I could hear were the words of the people who had told us it was a bad idea. And all I wanted was to prove them wrong. Cool story though. With tears streaming down my face, I stared out the window and just told God, "just give me something good. I need to know this will all be okay and work out." and immediately two little blue birds flew down to the patio and just sat for a minute before flying away. If you know me, you know I ugly cried after that. If you really know me, you know that I always complain about how our blue birds never stick around for the winter...but this year they did. They also never sit on our patio, but that day they did.
With all that said, we will be revisiting in the spring. We will be better prepared, both mentally and financially, AND we may just not have to live in our camper through the winter!
It has truly been an amazing year. I have gotten to see God work in so many wonderful, amazing ways (and usually I felt incredible dumb about my own plans and goals after seeing His), and I am so thankful for each and every one of my amazing clients. Oh one more thing - next year, I have more weddings booked than any year before, and I can't wait!!!
So here is a look at just a fraction of my favorites from this year. Love you all!
Happy New Year!